Make working from home work for you

30 March 2020

No commute, no hovering boss, working in your track pants? There’s no doubt that working from home has its benefits.

Create a space that you want to be in.

Create a space that you want to be in.

But family and pets demanding your attention, plus turning a blind eye to housework that is suddenly oh-so urgent, are just some of the challenges that you’ll need to navigate if you hope to be productive during this Covid-19 national lockdown.

Here are some handy tips and links to help you adapt to the new ‘normal’ of a nation working from home:

Maintain a routine – A daily routine is important for your productivity, mental health, and happiness. Start the day with something that is not work related, such as walking your dog, going for a run (keeping an appropriate distance away from others), doing yoga, or listening to a podcast. Get your day off to a good start by having breakfast.

Keep regular hours – Set a schedule and try and stick with it. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it day will help you with maintaining a work-life balance.

Set some ground rules – If you’re sharing your workspace with family or flat mates, putting some rules in place will ensure everyone is on the same page during your work hours. If you have children, spend time with them creating the expectation that when you’re working, you’re not going to be available for the usual fun things you do together.

Minimise distractions – Setting up a workspace or home office away from interruptions will help boost your productivity. It might pay to set up a children’s playroom or TV room for the non-workers at the other end of the house. If you have an office at home, shut the door. Perhaps mute social media notifications during work hours. Check out the Pomodoro technique for one way of increasing your productivity and focus.

Make your workspace / home office inviting – Create a space that you want to be in. Ensure your workstation is set up correctly to avoid discomfort or injury – http://www.habitatwork.co.nz/ can help with this. Use a comfortable chair with back support. Incorporate items into your space that lift your mood – such as colour, plants or pictures – but be careful not to go overboard as you want your attention to remain on the task at hand! Some ideas about creating a workspace are available on the Freshome website.

Take breaks and get outside – It’s important for your own wellbeing. Make time for lunch and spend time away from your computer screen. Go for a walk in the backyard or around the block (again, keep that distance) to get some fresh air, Vitamin D, and to avoid cabin fever!

Stay connected – Working at home instead of in a bustling office can be isolating, so be sure to stay in touch with your colleagues. Skype, or software such as Microsoft Teams or Slack can be useful tools for keeping co-workers connected. Set a regular ‘coffee date’ to socialise, or meeting time to check in with each other and talk about what you’re working on and what you have achieved.

Good luck everyone.